The 24 year old Italian, riding for Lampre-Merida, has a season that most can only dream of.
He was 4th in Trofeo Laigueglia, 2nd in GP Camaiore, 7th in Paris-Nice, 1st in Coppi e Bartali, 13th in Fleche, 6th in Bayern-Rundfahrt, a stage winner in the Tour of Poland, 2nd on stage 19 of the Vuelta, 2nd in GP Costa Degli Etruschi and then won Milano-Torino, Coppa Sabatini and Giro dell’Emilia in a period of 10 days.
He is still young, but is ready to make a move on the Classics in 2014, and particularly those in the Ardennes.
He will also target the occasional stage race, before turning his attention to grand tours in a few years time.
Here is an interview I did with Diego:-
What did you think about your season?
I was very pleased with last season as I have improved in many ways and I want to continue to improve.
Which race did you like the best?
Milano-Torino, which amongst other things, I won.
My favourite was Giro dell’Emilia and watching you battle against Zardini and Bongiorno on the final climb, how good was it to win?
It was good to win Emilia as it’s an important race. In the end I was smart to get the best sprint.
Your season started strongly and you won Coppi e Bartali, this was your first major stage race win (although you did win the Tour of Slovenia in 2011). Was this a big point in your career?
Winning these short stage races is important to help my belief in my own ability and to go higher and higher.
You were strong in Paris-Nice, finishing 7th on GC and 7th in the final ITT. Can we expect to see you challenging in 1-week races in 2014?
Paris-Nice saw me compete against the best in the world and I was quite happy with my finish on GC. This year I’m going to do well in Tirreno.
You were 13th in Fleche Wallone. What did you think of the race?
In 2012 I finished 9th and this year I’d love to make the podium.
You showed the world your excellent climbing skills by winning stage 1 of the Tour of Poland in Italy. How hard was the climb?
It was very hard because we had to climb to an altitude of 3000m, thankfully I managed to do a fast sprint.
You helped to complete a Lampre-Merida 1,2,3 in the GP Costa Degli Etruschi. How proud a day was it for your team?
I was in great condition after the Vuelta and we had a strong team, so we were able to claim all 3 positions on the podium.
Then we had the Worlds and the rain! How hard was the race?
It was really difficult as the road was very slippery and unfortunately I crashed twice.
You were outstanding in Milano-Torino, timing your move to the front group perfectly, and then attacking at the right moment. What did you think of the race?
I think it was wonderful to win because there were so many top riders and it was important to beat them all. In 2012 I was 2nd behind Contador but this year I improved.
It was much closer in Coppa Sabatini and the final climb looked hard. What are your memories of the race?
I remember that the team had pulled all day and I waited till the end and did a good sprint.
You then completed a 3rd win in Giro dell’Emilia. Was this the proudest moment of your career, so far?
I was in great condition, so I took advantage of this moment as much as possible, as I will try to do in the future.
2014 should be a big year for you. Which of the 3 Ardennes races do you think you have the best chance of winning?
I’ll try to be competitive in all three races as they are all beautiful. We will see what result I get…
You start in the Tour Down Under. What can we expect of you in Australia?
It’s a race I’ve never done before. I’ll be going there to find the right condition.
What can we expect from you at the Giro?
I will aim for stage wins.
Do you like the look of any of the stages?
Yes, there are quite a few stages that suit me …
The course for the Worlds looks good for you. Is this a target?
I will aim the second half of my season for this race. I have seen the parcours and it is suitable for me.
You seem to have all the skills to be a contender for a grand tour. Will we see you change into that type of rider in a couple of years?
At the moment I think of 1-day races but in the future I’d like to target grand tours.
What races are your big targets for 2014?
Tirreno, the Classics, Giro d’Italia and the Worlds.